Causeway Sensors Ltd

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Causeway Sensors are revolutionising the discovery and development of biotherapeutics using label–free plasmonic nanostructures



£1.8m raised

Capital Funding



Causeway Sensors are a spin–out from the Centre for Nanostructured Media at Queen’s University Belfast. Causeway was founded after ten years of world–leading research into nanostructures and advanced materials. 

We have strong links with Seagate Technology, and are adapting scalable advanced manufacturing processes that are proven within the harddrive disk (HDD) industry for Life Science applications.

Causeway Sensors is developing a novel sensing platform that has the potential to revolutionise drug discovery and development within the biopharmaceutical industry. Currently, the process to get a biopharmaceutical drug from discovery to market can take up to 15 years and costs on average $2BN. Causeway Sensors’ patented detection platform significantly reduces biopharmaceutical development time and cost, enabling pharmaceutical companies to get their next billion–dollar biological drug to market more quickly. The company has secured £1.8M of venture capitalist funding since its formation in 2013, and was recognised by the Institute of Physics (IOP) in 2018 as ‘Start–Up of the Year’.


8 Full-time

IOP Start-up of the year


The Technology

The technology is based on a gold nanorod surface which exhibits localised surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) a specific wavelength of light corresponding to the nature of surrounding environment. This LSPR effect can be exploited for the detection and kinetic analysis of biological entities, such as proteins, antibodies, and nucleic acids. The most compelling application of this technology is within the biopharmaceutical industry in high–throughput screening during the early stage discovery of novel antibody therapeutics and cell line development. Causeway Sensors are developing high throughput instrumentation, which incorporates their nanostructure sensing platform, allowing the simultaneous, real–time monitoring of thousands of protein–binding interactions at once. This, combined with the amalgamation of several, multi–step screening steps into one instrument, results in a smarter, more informed selection of drug candidates.

The Team

Causeway Sensors was founded around a nanotechnology platform chip and therefore has world–class expertise in physics, optics and nanofabrication embedded in the company. They have successfully recruited experienced chemists and biologists to translate biological assays on to their platform. Since its formation with the help of seed investment from an Angel Investor and QUBIS, the company has strived to recruit the best local talent in fields such as chemistry, manufacturing, and biology. The Board of Directors are a combination of leading industry experts, such as Damien Callaghan (Intel Ventures) and Jayne Brady MBE (Kernel Capital); and successful entrepreneurs, such as Hugh Cormican (Andor Technology, IPO 2004) and Dr Tara Dalton (Stokes Bio, acquired by Life Technologies Corp. for $44M in 2010).

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